So, I’m at this Mardi Gras party – In St. Louis, not the real deal. But, did you know St. Louis has a pretty big Mardi Gras celebration? It does. Does that seem odd? Also, yes, it does. Anyway, I was with the big, loud group of women crammed into the corner when Gina – my guest today – walked up and said, “You all are fun. I can tell. I know it.” I nervously laughed because I was so relieved she found us fun rather than annoying. At this point in the day, I would have found us highly annoying.
Gina has a presence and an energy and I was just so impressed with someone who could just walk up and be like – I’m here, your fun, let’s chat. I found out she is an actress and I asked her a gogillian questions. We connected on social media and went on our way.
I see Gina post a lot about joy and gratitude and living the life and doing the thing that just fills her up and embodies all of who she is and who she feels she was meant to be. I think that is rare. And fascinating. In this episode I refer to Gina as a ball of JOY…and that about nails it.
I’m drawn to people so freely and openly putting their joy and wonder out into the world. It fascinates me because for most of my life that felt too vulnerable. But, here is what I learned – and am still learning – you cannot selectively allow emotions; to stamp down the pain and the fear is to keep out the joy. And this focus on joy also got me thinking about happy vs. joy. I think happy is to joy what self-esteem is to worth. Joy and worth are internally motivated. Happiness and self-esteem come from external sources. Joy and worth are constant – no one can take them from you, but you have to show up for them; you have to believe in them.
Gina is living her joy, not because everything came easily or fell into her lap, she blazed though a lot of adversity and created her own way. We talk about everything from the first time she remembers experiencing overt racism (she was 7), how she was often the only in the room; we talk about taking chances and risks and ultimately choosing yourself, choosing what fits — the thing the child in us has always known was right. Gina is living her joy because she made the scary, but right choices. And, YES! a choice can feel like it might kill you with fear AND ALSO seem like the rightest thing you will ever do all at the same time.
When you are able to put your fear aside and do the thing…that thing you have always wanted to do – there’s freedom in that – no matter the outcome. There is a freedom in living your joy.
This is the first time Gina and I have spoken since that Mardi Gras party and I loved every bit of it.
Enjoy the episode.